For Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, a rapidly growing food and beverage chain, the list of modern-day networking needs starts with uninterrupted connectivity — especially for Point-of-Sale (POS). In case of emergency, the company knew it needed a solution with multi-WAN capabilities. Fuzzy’s deployed Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for branch, providing primary edge routing with built-in LTE and best-in-breed security while boosting cost-efficiencies and scalability.


Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, with hundreds of fast-casual eateries spread across 11 states. Fuzzy’s aims for a distinct, one-of-a-kind customer experience in each of its franchise and corporate-owned locations. From an administrative perspective, Fuzzy’s also strives for efficient, standardized technology infrastructure options that foster exceptional diversity and flexibility.


“Everything in the store needs connectivity, ranging from the music system to digital signage,” said Briton Smetzer, director of IT operations at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.

Other essentials for modern-day restaurants include POS, guest WiFi, and back-office administration — each of which depends on Internet access.

“It’s so important that we have an active connection,” Smetzer said.

Many Fuzzy’s eateries are located in small towns, some of which lack reliable wired-line broadband service. Whenever connectivity is interrupted, the company’s ability to run credit cards comes to a halt. They can process card payments offline and store the information until connectivity is regained, but this practice is highly vulnerable to fraudulent payments.

Because wired-line ISP reliability varies from one city or town to the next, Fuzzy’s also needed solutions that could be utilized for either network failover or primary WAN connectivity — or even both simultaneously. Additionally, with PCI Compliance at top of mind, Fuzzy’s sought solutions that could easily support a variety of cloud-based security features via user-friendly remote cloud management.


In each of its restaurants, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop deployed Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service for branch locations. The service including routing, WAN link termination and traffic management, firewall, and cloud configuration and troubleshooting, all delivered via a purpose-built router with embedded LTE, 24x7 support, and a limited lifetime warranty. The restaurants use wired WAN for primary connectivity and built-in LTE connectivity for failover.

With NetCloud, Fuzzy’s IT team seamlessly supports hundreds of restaurants, addressing technology issues from a central location — without truck rolls.


Uninterrupted Credit Card Transactions

For the first time, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop is offering its franchisees a network solution with “four-nines” of WAN uptime. The branch router is purpose-built for small branch locations.

Highly reliable POS access prevents guest frustration and drastically reduces the amount of money lost from fraudulent and declined credit card transactions.

“Losses increase at an exponential rate the longer you’re down. Typically you’re talking thousands of dollars,” Smetzer said.

"I’ve never had a Cradlepoint fail on me," said Smetzer.

Simplified PCI Compliance

Designed for compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), Cradlepoint’s all-in-one solution enabled Fuzzy’s Taco Shop to safely and securely move its compliance management efforts in house, which simplifies the process and affords the IT team direct control of firewall rules.

Best-in-Breed Security

With a multi-WAN branch router and a managed switch at each restaurant, the Fuzzy’s IT team uses multiple VLANs to establish security zones for guest WiFi, store management, and POS.

The Cradlepoint branch router includes a zone-based stateful firewall and supports third-party security applications such as:

  • Zscaler Internet Security — Fuzzy’s uses this tool for content filtering its customer WiFi.
  • CP Secure Threatment — Powered by Trend Micro’s industry-leading Deep Packet Inspection engine, this is a comprehensive Intrusion Protection System and Intrusion Detection System that defends against evasion attacks, improves network availability, and protects sensitive data.

All-in-One WAN Flexibility

With WAN flexibility, Fuzzy’s can accommodate LTE and DSL through a single networking device, without changing the architecture of its LAN setup. It’s an all-in-one approach for primary and failover connectivity.

High-End Scalability

Fuzzy’s uses NetCloud Manager not only for cost-efficient troubleshooting, but also for zero-touch deployment and to instantly update firmware and push out patches to eateries throughout the U.S.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s 95 sites or 900 sites,” Smetzer said.

Cost Savings

Fuzzy’s has noticed a variety of cost-efficiencies with Cradlepoint, ranging from better-utilized IT man-hours to less POS downtime and reduced likelihood of data breaches. The cost of a breach can be nearly impossible to recover from and affects every restaurant within the franchise.

“You have to look at how many dollars you lose versus how many dollars would it cost to have a backup. In most cases, it makes more sense to pay for the backup connectivity,” Smetzer said.